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Inn of the Turquoise Bear
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Two Spirits Chili Pork Stew
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in skillet or wok and brown pork. Add the chopped onions, garlic and chili peppers toward the end of the browning just to get them warmed up. Place the whole mixture in a flameproof casserole. Coat the mixture with the flour, warming it under low heat for 2 to 3 minutes and remove it from heat. Add the sweet potatoes, wine, chicken stock and corn. Mix well and bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and add black pepper and cumin. This is also a good time to adjust for taste in terms of relative spicy-ness, adding more chilies!
Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, adding more liquid (beer) if necessary. The consistency should be that of a thick stew. If it is too loose, heat uncovered for 10 minutes. After cooking, add the cilantro, retaining a little for garnish. If you find you've overdone it on the chilies, try adding a dollop of sour cream when you serve it.
Serving Suggestions: The recipe will make about 6 medium-sized portions, which is not enough if you are having folks over, because people will go back for more. Like most chili dishes, the flavors improve ("proof") with age, so I freeze a batch and save it for a rainy day. In Santa Fe, they serve this with puffy bread, but I like it best with corn bread and several cold beers! The flavors are robust, so a lager or pilsner beer goes best with this, or perhaps a light-tasting white wine.
Story: Many people think of chili in the context of Tex Mex food. In fact, chili peppers play a major role in food preparation practices around the world. There are tens of thousands of recipes for "Chili" using a wide variety of ingredients and combinations. Often these variants are adapted to locally available ingredients and preferences. This recipe is adapted from my experiences in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is unusual in that unlike most American chili recipes that are based on beef and beans, it uses pork and sweet potatoes. This unusual combination results in a wonderful flavor that is both sweet and hot - hence the reason I have named it "Two Spirits." - Michael Clatts
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